Mothers and Daughters

It’s been relatively quiet this Summer.  Mostly because the two youngest have been taking accelerated courses (Physics and Economics/US Govt) to get them out of the way for the Fall. The two older boys have been working and Randa and I have been sleeping in a lot and just hanging out.

But there are only two days left of Summer school and then Sam is off to visit her grandparents for a while.  And I’ll be lost without her.  The boys will either be working or sitting in front of their devices all day/night.  Randa will be here hanging with me like usual.  But our relationship is different than mine and Sam’s.  Randa’s is more physical with hugs or shouting, whichever she needs to do at the time.  I like Randa.  She likes me, most of the time.  But there’s that level of dependency and seemingly a boundary that isn’t crossed.  It’s not for a lack of wanting to be closer.  It’s just the dynamic of us.

Sam is actually more like a friend.  We have the mother-daughter relationship that is so close to friendship that we actually enjoy each other’s company.  It’s not just me wanting to hang out with her.  She actually enjoys being around me and has farted off friends to stay home with me.  I love that.  It’s the type of mother-daughter I longed for with my own mom but never really had.  I’m so happy that I have it with my daughter.

And I’m going to miss the crap out of her next week.


The Beauty in Asking for Help

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We got off to a late start again this year. Several of us had medical issues that affected our family lives that sort of forced us to put Starry Night Prom fundraising on the back burner. But it’s become known to us as “the little Prom that could” and it can.

I started promoting our fundraising website and blogging about past Starry Night Proms that we’ve participated in. I updated the donation letter and the giving levels list and then
added a few photos from Starry Night Prom 2015 to the fundraising site. But I needed my
son to finish recovering from his surgery and get back to school so that I could sleep longer than 3 hours at a stretch and be able to focus my energy on donations and not trying not to drive my car off the road because of the twitch in my eye.

So Saturday afternoon I sat down at my computer and began to send out emails to anyone I could think of that might have an interest in getting this thing off the ground. And on a whim, I contacted a local businessman whose service my husband and I have used on several occasions since moving to Arlington. I explained that I recognized that his company is a fixture in this community and that I see his vans all over the city almost every day while I’m out running my errands. I told him how Starry Night Prom got started
nine years ago and how every expense is paid for by the generosity of others. I asked for help.

Sponsorship to an event such as Starry Night Prom looks different for every donor. Some may donate gently used prom gowns or suits. Our photographer, DJ, and dinner are all sponsored. Sometimes logo-bearing “swag” is donated that we can include in the goodie bags that each student gets to take home; things like pens, hats, cups, refrigerator magnets, lanyards, keychains, stress-squeezers, calendars, etc. Some businesses choose to donate coupons or gift cards. We’ve had restaurants donate a meal for two, a hotel donated one free double-occupancy night, and a university donated a gift basket full of logo-bearing sports gear and free tickets to events…all of these items were raffled off and the monies collected went into the Starry Night Prom fund. And of course, they can choose to make a monetary donation.

Monday morning, Mr Ernie Clevenger, owner of Ernie’s Plumbing, read my email and then clicked on the link to the online fundraiser website. He told me that he enjoyed the bright smiles on the faces of the participants that were featured on the site. He also noticed that we only had three weeks left to meet our goal and we weren’t even halfway there.

Ernie’s Plumbing made it happen and donated the remaining funds to reach our target! His only comment on the website? God is good.

And that is the beauty in asking for help. Because Ernie is right. God IS good. And when you ask for help, He will provide.

****Further donations of goodie bag items for 300+ prom participants are still being accepted for receipt before April 28, 2016.  All donations are appreciated and tax deductible. Please contact me via email at:  I will gladly provide you with any further information within 24 of receipt of your email. Thank you.




The last thing thing he said to me was, “Don’t forget to get that bill in the mailbox before the mailman shows up.” I nodded my head and locked the door behind him. I came into my room and turned on the computer while grabbing my purse so that I could write the check out. Then I heard the brakes squeal on the mailman’s jeep in front of our mailbox at the street. The road to hell………

Anyway, so I knew there was no chance I could find the bill and scrawl out a check and, for the love of peanut butter, find the stamps in 30 seconds before he drove down to the next driveway. So I threw on a jacket and moseyed out to the mail box to see what additional bills had shown up. If I’m gonna be writing checks out, I may as well do them all at once. Right?

And so I pulled out the personalized coupons from my favorite grocery store and the usual bills and reminders about upcoming dental appointments…and then I saw the lovely word AIRMAIL scrawled out in my favorite Scottish chicken-scratch!

Of course, I immediately recognized my friend’s handwriting even though I haven’t seen it in probably 20 years! But the return stamp from Glasgow Mail Center proved my memory true and I ripped open the envelope. Apparently, Paula has taken up card-making. THIS was what she’d made for me, with love and sent from across the ocean:


Naturally, the colors are far lovelier in reality as I snapped this in front of the window in my room with my camera phone. But it’s a beautiful card and I loved reading all her news. And my day is just a little cheerier on this cold but sunny day.

Setting Down the Baggage

A few weeks ago I was invited to participate in a surprise birthday party for a friend. I am perpetually broke, so I suggested that we do this as a pot luck lunch rather than going out to eat. The idea was liked by the others in the group. I said that I’d bring some sort of chicken dish and then I didn’t hear boo about it until the day before.

One of the ladies was in a bit of a panic because the room reserved to hold our small event had  not been reserved. She’d been asked to jump through seventeen different hoops, which she did. But the person who’d asked her to do all that jumping hadn’t bothered to even open the email that contained all of the hoops she’d required. Then one of the ladies who’d said she would make chicken flautas was sort of “off the grid” and it seemed that things were falling apart. My panicked friend handed me a $20 bill and asked if I could pick up some red tablecloths and some salsa and rice from a popular Tex-Mex restaurant on the other side of town. I told her I would. Then she asked what I was planning to make and I told her that I had intended to make a curry chicken dish but that she and the birthday girl were so picky about food that I figured I’d just go with the Tex-Mex theme and also make
Mexican rice.

Later that night, I got a call and my friend was even crankier and more stressed. She told me that she’d finally gotten in touch with the lady who was making flautas and that someone else said that she’d make rice and that I should just “shred some lettuce and maybe buy some guacamole. Can you handle that?”

Now here’s where things got a little prickly for me. I lived in Egypt for 12 years very near my in-laws. My sister-in-law ate shrimp that I’d made Cajun style before my husband and I had even married. She didn’t like the seasoning and then immediately went around the rest of the family swearing I didn’t know how to cook. She doomed me to being the “salad maker” for the next 15 years and it just pissed me off. I’m a foodie. I LOVE to cook and try new things. My brother-in-law’s wife knows this and she used to try all sorts of new things with me and we would always eat each other’s cooking. It was always fantastic. But any large gatherings, the others in the family would tell me, “Why don’t you just make a salad.”

So, my Salad Baggage got really heavy all of a sudden when my friend, who was really just stressed out and actually trying to alleviate some of my stress by getting me out of having to cook, suggested this to me. She didn’t know about my Salad Baggage. She was actually trying to help me. But because she was stressed out with her own baggage and because she doesn’t really seem to enjoy cooking, it came out a little snarky. And then I went and tossed that snark and stress into my Salad Baggage and just tossed the hell out of it…making it a full Salad Baggage Bar.

And even though I was kind of shitty to my friend, I realized later that she wasn’t actually being snarky or mean or anything at all to me, other than considerate. I apologized to her because I realized that there was no way she could have known about my Salad Baggage and that I really should just set that stuff down. Our birthday girl friend was completely surprised, by the way. And she had a wonderful time and enjoyed all of the food and the cake and the present and cards. And I’m walking away from this entire thing having learned that I still have some growing up to do….and I need to stay the hell away from the baggage claim area.